Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Peggy and Jim Monreal look over college acceptance packages with their son, Patrick, who decided on Stanford.
For many seniors in high school, the college-finding process can be a perilous endeavor. The stress and anxiety of college acceptance can take a toll.
However, one Madera native has some of the biggest intuitions in the country begging for his signature.
“The big three are Stanford, Harvard and Yale, but I’ve also been accepted into Georgetown, John’s Hopkins, UCLA, Berkeley and the University of Chicago,” said Patrick Monreal, who is a senior at San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno. “I’ve gotten offers from a couple others, but those would be the big ones.”
When asked what he planned to pursue at the next level, the answer was simple for the senior.
“I am more of a scientist-oriented person,” Monreal said.
In fact, according to his father, Jim Monreal, his son recently chose the Stanford Cardinal.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity, but it was a very difficult decision for him to make,” Jim said. “He was visiting Harvard last weekend — they flew him out there to visit the campus during student admissions weekend. This past weekend, was actually Stanford’s official admissions week and so he was down to those two.
“I mean, it was difficult to turn down Yale, Duke, Michigan and Chicago, but the two highest respected institutions are Stanford and Harvard. He shot high, but he was also very humble during the process, he may not get in. Which was a challenge.”
In fact, Jim said that his son was the only student accepted from Central California to Harvard.
Saying Monreal is well-rounded would be an understatement. He’s an award-winning scholar, a co-editor for his school newspaper and takes part in school productions, as well.
However, science is the main area of study, his father said.
“He’s absolutely enthralled and enjoys the sciences. He really enjoys the chemistry field,” Jim said. “He sees himself going down that path, whether that is research or potential new sciences and medicine. The future is very bright for him, but definitely in the academia of the sciences.”
For Monreal, having examples to look to while growing up was a valuable experience. The senior has eight brothers and sisters and they all have gone on to achieve great things. Monreal even used that as motivation to be a little bit different from the rest, to be unique.
“I have eight brothers and sisters, so I think growing up in that tight knit kind of community in which we all supported each other definitely helped me grow mentally,” Monreal said. “I think it actually made me become more of an individual, if that makes sense. With so many people, trying to distinguish yourself, I think that helped me individualize myself and kind of become my own person.”
Monreal also leaned on his parents, as well. They set the standard for his family and even though he might not have followed in the same footsteps, their teaching paid off.
“They’re both kind of finance-oriented people, so me majoring in chemistry is a little different to them, but it’s all good,” Monreal said jokingly. “They’re very supportive.”
Although school and other co-curricular activities might occupy most of Monreal’s time, he still enjoys some time outside the realm of his career.
A combination of going to the movies and playing golf gives Monreal some fun adventures along with his work.
“Going to the movies is definitely a hobby of mine, all kinds of movies, from historical dramas to Star Wars, or whatever it is,” Monreal said. “I like to play golf too. I play with my friends, sometimes.”
Monreal’s high school days will soon be over, but the memories of just the simple days will stick with him forever.
“With all the busyness and chaos of my schedule, one thing I’ve come to appreciate after high school is to just enjoy the little moments,” Monreal said.
“Those little moments of free time you have. Some of the most memorable moments of high school have been at the lunch table, in between breaks, or walking to the classroom. I’ve really come to enjoy and favor those little moments.”